5 Ideas to Help You Find Your Sound as a Musician
by Rodrigo Sanchez, Sep 27, 2021 . 4 min read
These 5 ideas to help you find your sound as a musician are quite useful. Regardless of what instrument or style you play, having your own style and sound is important.
This is especially true if you want to have a long career as an artist. After all, your sound is the most important aspect of your musicianship and will set you apart from others. However, it is not easy to find who you truly are on the instrument. Developing your sound is a work in progress, and will take years of hard work and dedication. These 5 ideas to help you find your sound as a musician are a great place to start.
Know the masters
You need to know what came before you in order to start developing a criteria for sound. Naturally, this will depend on what style and instrument you play. For instance, if you want to become a great rock guitarist, you need to know the material of legendary rock guitar players. Furthermore, you need to understand the historical context in which they developed. Be familiar with the work of Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Slash, Jennifer Batten.
If on the other hand, you want to be a professional songwriter, look up Diane Warren, Max Martin, Bob Dylan, etc.
Expand your influences
It is very important to listen to music beyond your prefered genre. For instance, if you are a jazz guitarist, get acquainted with classical music as well. The same applies for rock guitarists, and any other style really. Listen to the works of Igor Stravinsky, Bach, and the other greats. The point of this is to expand your criteria. Additionally, expanding our influences will also help you further develop your sound.
Once you have identified the genre in which you want to specialize, pick a few of its masters and transcribe some of their work. For instance, if you play rock guitar, learn some of Jimi Hendrix’s solos and pieces. Then move on to learning Eddie Van Halen’s solos and so on. If you are a jazz guitarist, then you need to be playing the solos, melodies, and accompaniments of Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, etc. Transcribing will let you get deep into the music and figure out exactly what the masters are playing. In return, this will give you profound insight on how to play your instrument.
In order to find your own sound, you need to be sharp at the instrument. That means you need to be in tip-top shape in order to get to the deepest artistry within you. Practicing deliberately and consistently is a must. Naturally, transcribing is considered practice, but you also need to be working on scales, modes, etudes, etc.
Composing is often neglected by many musicians. But once you have to write an original piece of music, you will understand yourself much more as a player as well. This is imperative in order to find your own sound. Composing will also reveal your limitations and give you valuable insight. Additionally, you’ll see how your piece of music compares to those of the greats. It’s a humbling exercise, but highly useful.
These 5 ideas to help you find your sound as a musician will give you a run for your money. There is a lot of work involved here, so you will need some time. Finding your sound is what the greatest performers do, and is a noble goal to have. Take your time, go slow, and try to enjoy the process as much as possible. It will surely pay off in the long run.